What to see and do in Ras Al Hadd and Ras Al Jinz
Tips for Turtles Reserve Tour and how to get there
During a trip to Oman, you can’t miss one of the most popular eco-tourism activities: turtle viewing.
The beaches at Ras al Hadd and nearby Ras al Jinz, two small fishing villages on the eastern shores of the Arabian Peninsula, are renown as a breeding ground for the endangered green sea turtles.
The Turtle Reserve at Ras al Jinz is the only official place where visitors can watch the nesting process of these incredible sea giants. Along these pristine shores, most of all between May and September, thousands of giant green turtles come out of the sea to lay their eggs.
These big marine animals bury their eggs in the sand before returning to the sea. Fifty-five days later, newborns come out of the sand, rushing to the shore, trying to escape predators like crabs and birds.
The meeting point for the turtles viewing is at the reception of Ras al Jinz Turtle Reserve around 8.30 pm, where you pay the fee (8 OMR), and the Rangers organise different groups (max 15 people), assigning a number for each of them.
At 9 pm, they start calling the groups (who sleeps in the Turtles Reserve will go first) and, following a Ranger, you’ll be led on the beach. The shore is long, and there are different beaches where the marine giants can be seen, and the location can change every day.
After more than 30 minutes of walking in the dark of the night, we get to the beach where others rangers have spotted 3 giant turtles. Step by step, while they give us information about these beautiful animals, we admire the turtles laying their eggs and covering them with sand, using their front fins. After that, we are also lucky to see one giant turtle going back slowly to the shore and vanishing in the sea’s dark.
Another “must-do” is a boat trip to Ras al Hadd. During a 3/4 hours trip (or more), you can spot turtles, dolphins (maybe a whale if you are lucky) and enjoy this clear sea and its pristine beaches.
We arranged the trip with a local fisherman, Mr Fayal Al Harbi, and during our 4-hour boat ride we spotted turtles and dolphins, we enjoyed the clear sea and a beautiful beach, but above all, we fished tunas with the fisherman that once we got back on the shore, he cooked for us!
Need to Know about Ras al Hadd and Ras al Jinz
1. How to get there
Ras al Hadd is only 50 km from Sur (250 km – 3 hrs drive); Ras al Jinz is only 10 minutes drive from Ras Al Hadd.
2. Where to sleep
Ras al Hadd is a small fishing village and offers just a few accommodations. We slept at Ras al Hadd Guest House (it’s close to the beach). Another option is the Waves Hotel Ras Al Hadd. If you want, you can even sleep directly at Turtle Beach Reserve in Ras al Jinz, but it’s pretty expensive (the double room was about 200USD x night).
3. Where to eat
The same consideration can be done for the restaurants. In Al Hadd, you’ll find only a few small local restaurants along the main road.
4. Turtles viewing
If you don’t sleep at the Turtle Beach Reserve, you can go straight there at the reception or book in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Night turtle viewing is from 9:00 pm, and non-inhouse guests have to be in the Reserve by 8:30 pm; Dawn turtle viewing is from 5:00 am, and non-inhouse guests have to be in the Reserve by 4:45 am (timings could change, it depends on the season).
5. Ras al Hadd boat trip
You can arrange the tour asking at the reception of your accommodation, but we highly recommend contacting Mr Fayal, a young, experienced fisherman of al Hadd.
You can find him and check many pics on Instagram (alharbi995562) or WhatsApp at +968 99556257. Unforgettable the dolphins’ view and the tunas fishing! He can also arrange a lunch or dinner on the beach with fresh fish and lobster and even the turtles viewing in the nearby beaches, ask him!
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